Herbert Simon Says, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And he’s right. Even though he said this long ago, way back in 1978 before this thing called the Internet started pervading all aspects of our daily lives.
Pioneering the field of attention economics, Simon rightly pointed out the emerging scarce resource of modern life – attention. As information content becomes more abundant, our ability to process it becomes severely constrained.
Think about it – you used to get letters in the mail, exchange memos (on paper!) at work, and select between 3 to 5 channels of television in the evening (before they went “off the air” at night – remember that?). Telephone calls and faxes inserted themselves into this otherwise calm and deliberate exchange of information, and by doing so they got attention. What’s interesting about phone and fax is that they got attention because of the transport mechanism itself rather than the value of the content.
Now, content is king. Your information must be relevant, interesting, and useful. Not only that, it must be timely, concise, and precise. Even then, you’re information is competing with a lot of other information of the same caliber, which is why building communities and relationships online is often a crucial factor of success. If you’re information comes from a known and trusted source, if it’s anticipated, if it’s helpful, it has a chance to break through. Which leads to an emerging concept that content really isn’t king – you’ve got to have that great content in the right context (this is a particularly powerful concept if you think about added aspect of mobile devices and individuals using multiple devices).
So, how will you garner attention for your [marketing project, IT initiative, next great idea]?
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